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Ancient Assyria: Art and Empire

Afternoon Lecture/Seminar

Friday, June 24, 2022 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0185
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Sculptures at the Northwest Palace of King Ashurnasirpal at Nimrud (Photo: M.chohan)

Between the ninth and seventh centuries B.C., the rulers of Assyria, a small kingdom in what is today northern Iraq, expanded through conquest to dominate the area from Egypt to Iran. Assyria is perhaps most memorable from the Hebrew Bible as the military power that brought the kingdom of Israel to an end and laid siege to Judah’s capital of Jerusalem. 

In establishing what is arguably the world’s first empire, the majesty of the Assyrian king, along with his court and protecting divinities, was reflected in the creation of a series of magnificent royal cities adorned with palaces and temples. At Nimrud, Khorsabad, and Nineveh, the rooms and courtyards of royal palaces were lined with enormous carved stone sculptures that rank among the most remarkable artistic creations from the ancient world. 

Paul Collins, a curator at Oxford University’s Ashmolean Museum and a leading authority on the art of ancient Mesopotamia, leads a journey through these palaces to reveal how they were designed to ensure that Assyrian kingship would exist for all eternity. Early symbolic scenes of royal achievements developed over time to a final flourishing of relief decoration in which astonishing scenes of conquest and the hunt capture the raw emotion and energy of people and animals with extraordinary vitality.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.